Candid’s 2021 Boys and Men of Color Executive Director Collaboration Circle (BMOC Collaboration Circle) just concluded its fourth cycle back in June. This unique program helps build the capacity of nonprofit organizations and social institutional leaders to serve and achieve more substantial outcomes for boys and men of color in the Southeast United States. Twenty-five nonprofit professionals gathered regularly since February 2021 to discuss leadership styles, fundraising techniques, and executive tools to ensure their organizations are set up for continued success during this unprecedented year. Below is a brief conversation we had with program participant Cordero Tanner, the Founder and Executive Director of Athleaders 360°.

Savannah Cathers: Let’s dive right into this conversation. Why is Athleaders 360° here today?

Cordero Tanner: There’s a deep divide between the expectations of youth sports coaches and the competencies that coaches have. Parents, players, and community members expect coaches to expertly know their sport, prioritize the health and safety of their players, and understand basic youth development practices. Of the 6.5 million coaches in the United States, only 30 percent have any training to do all of that, finds data from the Aspen Institute’s Sport & Society Program.

At Athleaders 360°, we focus on equipping coaches with the best practices in youth development, so they can develop a coaching framework that considers the full lives of children and the communities they represent.

A player continuing the sport and their enjoyment of the sport is predicated on the coach. In 2013, according to the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 80 percent of young people who say they don’t want to participate in sports anymore say it had to do with the experience that they had with their coach. We must have coaches that have training in holistic child development.

Think about all the requirements and training for daycare centers, schools, and all those types of places. The staff must have a certain amount of training, but as far as coaches, besides background checks, there is no type of formal training for coaches to have.

That is a problem, and I think that is something that we actually need to address.

Savannah Cathers: How has the BMOC Collaboration Circle program influenced you and your organization?

Cordero Tanner: The BMOC Collaboration Circle has been a tremendous asset for someone like me new to social entrepreneurship, leading a newly found organization. Not only has the program helped to strengthen my leadership capacity, but it has also helped me develop my approach for working with young Black men. Although Athleaders 360° is for everyone, when I think about the potential impact of the organization, it has always been about the young, Black male. I believe that to seriously impact their lives, we need to explore every option and meet young boys where they are—that is their love of sports.

Some people think we focus too much on sports, but I believe it is essential. I think it’s one of the greatest teaching tools that we have.

I feel like sports is a microcosm of the things that are going on in society. So anything that you want to talk about in the world, in society, you can talk about it through sports. If you want to talk about equal pay, gender equality, or discrimination, you can talk about it through the lens of sports. It’s a unique approach, and it meets them where they are.

Savannah Cathers: Do you see yourself using any of the things that you have learned in the cohort on a day-to-day basis, or do you think it’s going to help you with your larger goals for your organization?

Cordero Tanner: Both, actually. The fundraising and prospect research resources and information that were shared are very helpful, especially for me being an executive director. I am actively trying to master these key skillsets.

But then also in the long term, we’ve met so many wonderful people. The overall BMOC Collaboration Circle, the other leaders in the cohort, and the speakers you all had lined up have been fantastic. I see potential partnerships with many of the people I have met throughout this process. I think the BMOC Collaboration Circle has been really great.

Especially for me, I don’t know any social entrepreneurs or anybody that has started a nonprofit. Google has been my best friend throughout this whole process, so to have the ear of experts and learn from some of the things they went through has been great for me.

About the Author(s)

Savannah Cathers (she/her) Programs Assistant - South Candid

Subscribe to our blog

When we publish a new blog post, you’ll get notified by email.

Interested in being a guest writer for our blog? Learn how